Thanks for your reply, Bill! I enjoyed the paint-by-numbers analogy.

Dear Everyone (or two),
Here's a question about knowledge.


How do you study the dharmas with non-attachment? How do you decide
what knowledge to hold dear, and which to consider with equanimity?

On what basis do you decide whether it's more important to know who
the 6th Patriarch is or what the 6th Ground is? To read a sutra, or to
avoid texts?

If we vow to master the dharmas, we're putting a lot of investment in
them. How would we find equanimity to release them as easily as hold

Can we just sit, as Bill suggested, and find all our knowledge, there,
inside? Can we do this with no training or guidance? One of the
central aspects of Zen practice is having a teacher. What is their
function, if not to pass on knowledge?

The best I can make of it, today, is to consider Right Effort, arising
skillful qualities. The moral and philosophical tenets of zen
(Buddhism, the Tao) are objects that provide pivot points for our
attention, and hold little value outside of that function. (Yes, it
logically follows that Playboy Magazine is just as useful a text as
the Diamond Sutra.)  Zen, zazen, is practicing awareness, of dancing
such pivot points. To me a fruitful sitting isn't the one in which
I've had an easy and tranquil mind, it's the one in which I've
struggled on my pivot points. When I exercise my capacity for
equanimity through observing my thoughts, it works much as repetitions
in the gym, which build a muscle by first tearing it: dancing my pivot
points breaks my habits and I get to build new, more aware mental
formations to dance with another day. :-)

I've also read the analogy that it's like fine tuning an instrument,
which is why we're always practicing and never performing.

So, what do you know?


On 6/20/06, Bill Smart <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>  If you really want to live your life as a masterpiece you should consider
>  not taking this 'paint-by-numbers' approach. You should seek the source.
>  The only way, or at least most effective way, I know to do discover that
>  source is zazen. Just sit. The source is there. It's always been there,
>  it's there now and it always will be there. It's waiting for you. Just sit.

~say beautiful things to yourself~

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